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How Deepest Tantra Saves the World
Part Three

by Dr. Stuart Sovatsky December, 2015

Bhairava Dancing Rudra

Editor’s Note:

In this issue of Sutra Journal, Dr. Stuart Sovatsky concludes a discussion on the nature and the impact of the Scientia Sexualis, the sex-desire-centric ‘liberated sexuality’ based in Freudian theories and supported by modern birth control methods, which has also appropriated Indic Ars Eroticas of Kundalini-Tantra and Hatha Yoga in Scientia modes of ‘neo-tantra’ and ‘neo-yoga’.

The nature and power of Ars Erotica itself is rooted in a lifelong ‘perineum-to-pineal’ spinal puberty of ‘profound pleasures’, tied to a sacred inner development, as seen in the ‘liberations’ noted in the Dharma traditions of Indian Kundalini-Tantra and in charismatic ‘being moved’ spiritual traditions.

These two terms were coined by Michel Foucault in his Vol.1, The History of Sexuality as will be further discussed on Dr Sovatsky’s article.

Read Part One , Part Two

Regarding the Ars erotica Image

Scientia Sexualis

Scientia sexualis

Ars Erotica

Ars erotica (Julianne Reynolds)

The vast powers of this desire-centric world captured in the left-side image seem to drain the female-legs-spread image on the right of any actual eroticism when looked at second, leaving only a kind of shocking rawness of an apparent fertility adoration. Indeed, one might at first recoil sexually. So, try now to block the left image and gaze at the right for a few minutes, undistractedly.

That which was shocking a moment ago now feels the reverse: a deep and warm and welcoming, not into the immediate allure of (scientia sexualis) sex, but into the ever more palpable, complex and raw fecundity of life itself, an emotional-visceral contact with the blood-and-flesh heat of life-giving womanhood as if, a moment ago, the fertile rawness was hiding, rather than revealing, this throbbing ‘other’ multi-layered eroticism.

For, Kundalini is eroticism-fertility-divinity as a singular cosmic life passion. In the Shakta (charismatic Goddess) traditions related to this image, embodied maturation in flesh and blood, commingles with any substantial spiritual enlightenment of consciousness. Likewise, one must feel emotionally moved and be physically overpowered by energetic ‘reverberations in the body and the soul’, as Foucault noted.

The phenomena of advanced Kundalini yogis inducing or transmitting ‘awakening energy’ (shaktipat and all charismatic phenomena worldwide) to others suggests that spirituality is a biological phenomenon of highly-matured ‘life energy itself’, not a matter of dry, doctrinal belief, any more than instinctive sexual movements, labor contractions or infantile incarnating movements are a matter of doctrinal belief in some scientific theory of sex, childbirth or infant development.

Indeed, the special role of the term, Kundalini, in the East-West spirituality discourse au courant has been to convey something overpowering, like the jolting, throbbing-but natural-labor contractions that take over the body of a giving-birth mother. Ah, Mother Kundalini, Mother of All!

Thus, all matured enlightenment can only emerge into deep embodiment via the conjoined powers of the fertility hormones as the bodily manifestations of an adult ‘inner entheogenic pineal gland puberty’ that ‘entheogenizes’ all the other (self-nourishing and sharable) secretions (and feeling-states) of the body: from tears to funkiest sweat.1

Another sort of ruddy and invigorated male arousal might emerge within this beyond-the-pale and reverential lust, cultishly honored by the men who have touched its neophyte, yet intoxicating shores of ‘red wing’, taboo-breaking biker arcana where (during menstrual cunnilingus) the two-become-as-one-gender-inflamed-flesh, forever uplifting him higher within his group’s machismo social status.

Consider a world where men and women are in awe of one another as ‘sexy-fertile-holy’ (exceedingly far beyond tawdry MILF and other trillion-views-per year scientia-porno flimflam), where the triadic combination also radically transforms all three terms/realms within the new ars erotica ubiquity.

(Because the scientia sexualis has so effectively differentiated and separated these three realms, as compared with their commingled singularity within the ars erotica, we find in popular culture only such cultish or boorish hints-of-examples of their lost and profound oneness.)

Yet, at the most profound end of the spectrum, we can easily include the felt or imagined experience of the actual conception of potential new life during ‘unprotected’ sex. Of course, the sex-only-for procreation moral mandate has tried to preserve the original oneness, but, for thousands of years, tainted with shaming Church indictments of ‘original sin’ regarding the sexual act, its ‘dangerous’ pleasures and, indeed, of procreation and (fallen) earthly life altogether.

Reverence is there in the ars erotica: the inspired awe one feels in watching childbirth unfold, the awe of becoming-fathers for the maternal labor of becoming-mothers and of mothers for the unfathomable depths of their ‘own’ bodies that, upon conception and, more so, upon fetal quickening and exponentially more so during labor and birth, are no longer as singularly one’s ‘own’ body, as before. I will also mention, ‘lila’, or ‘erotic play’ (of Krishna, most famously), here, just to point out an innocent, light-hearted side to the otherwise seemingly one-sidedly ponderous ars erotica.

Scientia hospital ‘birthing centers’ step further beyond obstetrical maternity wards to become fecund, sweaty, risky, cosmically-infused temples of arduous, ars erotica profundities. If hospitals completely broke their scientia spell and became ars erotically-informed, they would immediately transform their labor rooms, not just into homey, cozy places, but into hallowed spaces replete with decors of universal, cosmic significance.

Do these couples also feel their two entwining lineages of ancestors, as a surreally continuous tunneling back into the remotest past, carrying forth into this Birth Now, yet another scion, hybridized and unique, coming into his or her own life? The list of ‘begettings’ of the Old Testament suddenly shudders beyond Sunday school boredom into a primordial linkage to the hoariest of past-origin mysteries. Darwin, Lucy, all Life till now shudders within every new birth.

And, what about some ‘heavenly realm’ where souls await their upcoming next life? That is just too, too much to consider, though, no doubt many do, at least in the naming-baby-after-someone process. Indeed, the whole of the yoga ars erotica is permeated by a reincarnation cosmos, however scientifically unverifiable such may be. And, thus, too the spiritual power attributed to those millions, from Buddha to the Dalai Lama, whose celibate or unrepressed ‘inner marriage’ enlightenments ‘end the cycle of rebirths’.

Has sex - in concept and practice - become so utterly separated from its fertility - specifically regarding conception and also as an ongoing creative energy - that the full cosmic powers and mysteries of irresistible lust and seduction, of romantic love, of fertility, family and lineage tracing back to some ‘beginningless beginning’ are now nearly lost in modern cultures? No wonder divorce rates of cultures still alive to these realms, e.g., Tibet, Navajo, India, are from ten to forty-five times less than in scientia sexualis cultures.

Indeed, all mechanical, pharmaceutical or natural rhythm forms of fertility-averting contraception are eventually left behind in mature ars erotica embodiment, like training wheels on a child’s bicycle.

For, the endless eroticism that emerges from shared, devotion-extended and reunified ‘divinized-fertility-lust’ opens bodies and souls into an infinite generativity “where man and woman worship one another is the [endless lila] play of the divine.” (Tantra Scriptures)

How so? The mystery of seminal-ovum fertility has become part of the ars erotica devotion that it now transforms. The transmuted or mystical or alchemical semen-testosterone and ova-estrogen-oxytocin known in tantra as ojas (glowing ultra-hormone- energy) or retas (juice of life-energy) or tapas (arduous, commitment-born maturation) or auras (golden highest-ultra hormone energy), now glorify the couple’s fully matured and endless non-or post-scientia sexualis love-drenched, breathlessly intense and on fire, innocently playful, passions. As such, nir-bija (the full release of all seed-potentials) samadhi (consciousness concentrated on its own Source), is more deeply approached.

Devotion that moves in ars erotica ways as immediately inspired by the ever-changing, glowing and mood-shifting beauties and circular responsiveness with one’s partner - not karezza scientia sexualis ejaculatory controlled techniques - reveals a naturally pleasurable path to non-conceptive, hermetic and nonejaculatory pariyanga.

All children are conceived by choice, wanted and perhaps even connected with as souls before birth.

Now imagine wealthy and poor families living together within ars erotica cultures wherein the ars erotica pleasures of periodic ‘redistributions of wealth’ (tantric yagna-potlatch) exceed the selfish pleasures of a ‘1%’ hyper-ego-identified, financial elite. Such was the common situation in 150 A.D., Western India when a fully-matured Kundalini saint, Lakulisha, radiated his ars erotica vibrations, engendering charismatic spontaneous yoga dancing, khecari mudra awakenings and singing and communal sharing beyond caste and class and the greatest outpouring of temple creation in all history, wherein the Lakulisha Kundalini yoga sect practiced an ecstatic ritual including wild laughter, sacred singing, “dancing consisting of [all possible] motions of the hands and feet: upward, downward, inward, outward and shaking motion, " a sacred "sound produced by the contact of the tongue-tip with the palate...after the dance when the devotee has again sat down and is still meditating on Siva" an "inner worship," and “prayer.”

(C. Collins, The Iconography and Ritual of Siva at Elephanta, Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1988, p. 137)

Yoga as Ars Erotica, Kundalini as Charismatic
Developmental Mystery


The above pair of photos parallels the preceding two. Clearly, the woman on the left is recreating the scorpion pose (vrischika asana) in textbook precision, dressed for the camera shoot, holding, holding, stretching, concentrating and breathing steadily. This could be called scientia yoga in Foucauldian terms or, as I prefer to call it, Apollonian, form-perfecting yoga.

The test for us in comparing these two photos to see anything ‘erotic’ in the left image is compromised because we don’t think of yoga postures, even of a beautiful model in ambiguously revealing yoga-attire, as being intentionally ‘sexy’. For, here the drainage of eroticism has been reversed, when one has the eyes to see.

The right image is deepest ars erotica yoga that emerges during advanced stages of Kundalini-inspired ha-tha (sun-moon radiance forces) yoga. The highly androgynous and inner-union maturation that unfolds via this ars erotica yoga is known by many names:sahaja (self-arising) yoga; rasa-yana, the hormone-glandular (rasa) ‘alchemy practice-knowledge’ (yana) ; urdhvaretas, complete upwardly refined maturation (urdhva) of the seed- juice-hormones (retas); shamanica medhra, the stable maturation (shamanica) that is beyond genital (medhra) puberty.

In contrast to the left Apollonian photo of this healthy-flexibility yoga, this one could also be called Dionysian, or inwardly-compelled, ecstatic or charismatic yoga of the ‘inner marriage’. Like labor contractions or jolting infant movements, Prana-Kundalini moves the yogi’s body, for ars erotica yoga is simply a lifelong extension of ‘adult gestation’ that yields complete (post-egoic, post-genital primacy) maturation of the body-mind-soul.

Only recently has the scholar, Mark Singleton (Yoga Body, The Origins of Modern Posture Practice, Oxford; Oxford University Press, 2010) corroborated N.E. Sjoman (The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace, South Asia Books, 1996) and my claims (Columbia Desk Companion on Eastern Religions, edited by R. Thurman, New York: Columbia University Press, tabled, 2002) that the hatha yoga of India was tamed by a good dose of European gymnastics and ballet principles before its mass export to the West.

Thus, its core ars erotica passion for some five thousand years - Kundalini-animated maturational movements - is almost completely absent from the last mere (but ubiquitous) forty years of modern (even copyrighted) yoga ‘styles’ and their eighteen million enthusiasts. Once again, we have to start somewhere - but, then what?

This so-different eroticism has remained hidden to English readers and numerous scholars (themselves embedded in scientia sexualis ubiquity) in the constant distorting mistranslation from the tantric Sanskrit term, brahmacharya, to the hyper-loaded and de-eroticized English, sacerdotal scientia sexualis term, ‘celibacy’.

This ars erotica brahmacharya has been the universal core of Indian yoga for over five thousand years, yet is entirely absent from the (most certainly) non-brahmacharya yogini on the left. When you love yoga that much, like a ‘John and Yoko marriage’, something happens, you marry yoga as your erotic life-partner and know ‘exactly where’ your prana-life will go.

It's real love

Yes it's real

Yes it's real love

It's real…
From this moment on I know

Exactly where my life will go

Seems like all I really was doing

Was waiting for love… J. Lennon, 1979, Parlophone

Take a long look at the image on the right and see a deep love affair conceiving new life within one body in the inner-marriage known as ‘yoga -union’:

That is called [yogic] action of the body in which reason takes no part

and which does not originate as an idea springing in the mind.

To speak simply, yogis perform…[asanas] with their bodies,

like the [innocent] movements of children.

(Jnaneshvar, 1987[1210], p. 102)

Just as a fetus or a baby moves, devoid of ego, or how certain sexual movements and longings seem to arise without thinking, automatically of their own accord, when lips touch, then awaiting breast, then and then and….so do the sahaja asanas unfold from one to the next (not in the Bikramscientia yogic prescribed and controversially ‘patented’ sequences or vinyasa and tandava guided sequences) when the ars erotica passions (bhakti, shradda, pranotthana) are awakened. Thus, too, Taoists prize spontaneous ‘embryonic breathing’ meditations, as in classic scripture, The Secret of the Golden Flower.

Meditate on the right-hand photo. He imitates or attempts to master or demonstrate no known textbook asana. See how this pose could only emerge idiosyncratically from within, in its perfect moment, maturing the yogi’s being in just this way, arms turned, fingers extended and curled, legs lyrically bent, facial expression absorbed in a poignant mood of inwardly spellbound transfixation. But, then he will move--is moving--for this is a still-snapped photo of a living and dynamic maturational and devotional unfoldment, an adult continuation of Mother Kundalini’s (Holy)Gestation, endlessly so.

The direction of this embodied love-affair is inward, androgynously becoming the whole containing the two, male and female, in one body, aiming, internally commingling, asymptotically approaching the cornucopian, omphallic Source of life itself, high in the midbrain hypothalamus (‘the little wedding chamber’, as the Greeks called it, midbrow union of Shiva Shakti, says the tantric scriptures) and ‘seat-of-the-soul’ pineal gland (wrote Plato and Descartes), corresponding to the Taoists two inch internal meditative space they call, The Golden Flower.

In this ars erotica yoga, the yogi is dancing inwardly to the same genre of feminine energies we glimpsed in the yoni ( scientia term, vagina) worship photo, above. Or, we could say, he is two lovers reacting to one another in one body, with every newly arising mood and gesture a response to the last one. His body creates the entheogenic rasa, amrita, ojas, soma that he feeds and delights upon as poignant feelings that feed his glands to grow in the direction of The Holy, the Dance of Union, Yoga, an endless infinity of diverse feelings, flavors, enlightenment embodied in this body-language of rasa feelings. He is thus, uroboros, mother-father re-conceiving himself anew as Jnaneshvar’s child, a self-pregnant Kundalini yogi: a living serpentine infinity symbol.


But there is more…the ars realm is hidden everywhere!

Thus self-impregnated with Sun Moon energies, the yogi’s body generates siddhis, ‘powers’ or charisms, ‘gifts’ of the Spirit, as they are known in Western traditions for thousands of years, from William McNeill’s thesis of prehistoric hordes ‘keeping together in time’ (rhythmic group practices that helped evolve larger harmonious communities of early homo sapiens, and ever since), the shaman’s self-empowering trance-dance, the secret Grecian Dionysian Revel, Christian Holy Ghost shivering and inwardly married, shaking Shakers to spontaneous spinal rocking davvening of orthodox Judaism and the spontaneous spinal rocking zikr of Islam and the tumescent, naturally--ars erotically--straight and still spine (uju kaya) of Buddhism and all those who seek to be ‘morally-upright’ and more soul-emotioned persons.

Islamic ecstatic spinal rocking zikr

Islamic ecstatic spinal rocking zikr

Judaic ecstatic spinal rocking davvening

Judaic ecstatic spinal rocking davvening zikr

Shaker stylized reverential dance

Shaker stylized reverential dance

Holy Ghost Worship

Holy Ghost Worship

Dionysian Revelry

Dionysian Revelry

Sufi Dervish Whirling

Sufi Dervish Whirling

Vodou spirit dance

Vodouspirit dance

Yogic meditative dance

Yogic meditative dance

Buddhist uju kaya (upheld body) ars erotica tumescent spine

Buddhist uju kaya (upheld body) ars erotica tumescent spine

Tens of millions of brahmacharya yogis for seven thousand years and twenty-five hundred years of Buddhist monks and nuns were no self-repressing fools.

They had found within themselves this mystical path toward some ars erotica blissful infinity within the Seed-Energies and within Consciousness, just as romantic pairs who bond at this level of Creativity can mutually evoke a lifelong love, soaked in the creative juice-energies of fertility, potentially procreating children who mature and likewise bond with partners who procreate children who mature, bond with another and mutually evoke a lifelong love… ad infinitum.

Kumbha Mela

Kumbha Mela Great Gathering of Yogis, extending back to Stone Age Origins


  1. (‘Funk’ is a Afro-American sexo-musical term referring to passionately-engendered earthily-erotic body-sweat and a deep beat that the Grandfather of Funk-Soul, James Brown, called the single beat of ‘The One’; in yoga, tapas, names the arduously heated, passionate creation of alchemical body secretion-radiance of ojas or the entheogenic tears of devotion, “He is my true devotee…whose heart is moved with tears rolling down from the eyes.” Bhagavat, 11:14, in Kripalvanand, p. 76-f, 1977)


[i] I wince to reconsider the work of a beautiful man who has inspired millions. Yet, I wonder, if Ram Dass (from his spiritually awake state) and Mom had actually raised this son on a daily, real-life basis, he would have - for two generations, by this time - been teaching how ‘soul love’ and personal and parental love are ‘not mutually exclusive’ of one another, instead of the converse. Having children often profoundly expands one’s concerned attention to ‘the future’ in ways childless people do not (need to) feel. Such would surely have greatly affected the field of Transpersonal Marriage and Family Therapy (see myClinical forms of love inspired by Meher Baba's mast work and the awe of infinite conscious-ness, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology , 2004, 36(2):138-42.) Instead, he, (along with childless Ken Wilber and others whose work focused on ‘[solo] spiritual heroes’) unwittingly garbled into Western lives the specialized family-less, ‘no ties’ life of the tiny minority – ‘the sadhu trip’ - as his one-time sadhu-yoga mentor, Baba Hari Dass, warned all Western seekers not to mix up (B. H. Dass, Silence Speaks, Santa Cruz: Sri Rama Publishing, 1997). In this revised history, ‘spiritual emergence’ might include exactly such spiritually challenging moments as those following a positive (or negative) pregnancy test as the one that profoundly revised Ram Dass’s understanding of ‘soul love’. Indeed, the emotional upheaval of possible divorces involving young children might also be viewed as ‘spiritual emergencies’, not just the lsd-like mystical ones of TP’s concern thus far. Such has been the concern of all spiritual traditions wherein the fertility of Life Itself has remained paramount, for millenniums. Perhaps grihastha-trained TP MFTs could have significantly decreased our alarming 50% divorce rate and the broken-home, bonding/separation/abandonment anxieties of two generations of children that have been a main psychopathology in psychotherapy practices.

[ii] “The Summa Theologiae, his last and, unfortunately, uncompleted work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology. He stopped work on it after celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, “I cannot go on.... All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” He died March 7, 1274.” From (retrieved on 12/24/2012):

[iii] Still-sitting meditative paths suppress efferent stimulation and the maturational information therein of Mother Kundalini that dwells in the ‘darkness’ beneath, and as the matrix of, consciousness. These paths may open sushumna and bestow many profound meditative states, yet the many potentials of the body, including tantric pariyanga, the mysteries of sahaja spontaneous asanas and the siddhis of healing, genius, musicality, longevity and other ‘charisms’ (gifts of the spirit) etc., remain dormant.

[iv] See pre-eminent tantra historian, D.G. White’s The Alchemical Body, (University of Chicago Press, 199x, p. xx) for details on Lakulisha as the singular touchstone of yogic authenticity for the last two-thousand years.

Kumoani with Baba Hari Dass
Dr. Stuart Sovatsky

by Dr. Stuart Sovatsky

December, 2015

About Dr. Stuart Sovatsky

Dr. Stuart Sovatsky (AB, Ethics/Psychology, Princeton University; PhD, CIIS) co-directed Ram Dass's "prison ashram", and in 1977 he was selected for Princeton University's Outstanding Alumni Careers Panel for his groundbreaking work of bringing meditation to the homeless in the US. Stuart is Co-president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology since 1999 - the premiere professional organization for spiritually-oriented psychologists in the US, is a board trustee for the California Institute of Integral Studies for 20 years and a recipient of its Most Outstanding Alumni Award 1978-2008.

In 2006-08, he was initiating co-convener of the forty country World Congress on Psychology and Spirituality in Delhi, India. Author of critically acclaimed books like Eros Consciousness and Kundalini, Words From the Soul, and numerous articles on love, ideal marriages and families, spirituality of infancy and Buddhist dissolution of suicidal thoughts.

A serious scholar-practitioner of tantra yoga with numerous academic publications and university presentations throughout the US, India and Europe, he now leads couples retreats and trains therapists in the US and in Russia, is a faculty member at Moscow Psychoanalytic Institute and is the director of two psychotherapy clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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